Sextech took the spotlight at CES 2020, but pleasure remains taboo

CES 2020 sextech wrapup

At this year’s annual Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, sextech has been the talk of the town. At least, if you judge by the headlines and reports coming from the show floor. The show’s organizers, however, are seemingly still not so keen to talk about it. And don’t even mention ‘pleasure products’.

Yes, CES still has a problem with pleasure. So much so in fact, that it is ignoring the category that probably generated the most headlines in the official wrap up release, despite the fact that they all fell within the definition of ‘wellness’ and ‘sexual health’, rather than pleasure.

The release highlights that the “Health & Wellness category saw an increase of nearly 25 percent with more than 135 exhibiting companies at CES 2020, including Humetrix and InBody,” both fitness tech companies. It fails to mention anything about the blossoming sextech market.

This year ‘sextech’ was an official category within Health and Wellness, after last year’s furore around the Ose vibrator.

Oddly, the show had indeed allowed some ‘adult-themed’ products, including a Naughty America VR porn booth, while forbidding any from making their way to the stage floor – a double standard that isn’t unique to CES in the tech industry.

Still explicitly banned from the show are sex robots, dolls, and anything anatomically accurate.

The Lora DiCarlo Ose was classified as “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane” at the time, but the widespread backlash in the press resulted in the prize being re-awarded and the show to open its doors to sextech… sort of.

ces 2020 sextech

A search for CES 2020 on Google News yields plenty of results!

At the time of writing, ‘CES 2020 sextech’ has 75k hits on Google News, as this year saw an explosion of pleasure wellness products, including Lora DiCarlo’s two new devices (Onda and Baci), MysteryVibe’s Tenuto and Poco, MyHixel, Lioness, Morari, OhMiBod and more.

CES 2020 was also criticized for having keynote speaker Ivanka Trump – though a female figure likely chosen to break down gender exclusion, one that is completely unrelated to tech. It seems the show just can’t quite get it right. Nevertheless, now the floodgates have opened, the sextech arena will be one that looks set to continue to grow in the coming years.

Perhaps then the organizers will explicitly mention it in the wrap-up press release.

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Oli Lipski

Oli Lipski

Oli is a freelance sex tech researcher based in London. With an MA in Sexual Dissidence, researching sex tech, and a BA in History, researching gender and sexuality, she has a keen understanding of the past, present and future of sex.

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